ARCAS (Guatemala)

The Oakland Zoo supports ARCAS financially and by volunteering the time of its conservationists and teens to help in onsite activities. The ARCAS Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is situated on 45 hectares of forested land on Lago Peten Itza of Guatemala. The 3.75 million acre Maya Biosphere Reserve in Northern Guatemala's Peten region is the largest intact tropical rainforest in Central America.

In 1990 ARCAS started as a small wildlife rehabilitation center for the thousands of macaws, monkeys, and other native wildlife confiscated from smugglers and poachers in the Maya Biosphere Reserve each year. Today it has grown into a successful NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that oversees environmental education programs in Guatemala City, and the unique mangrove habitat of the Hawaii National Park on Guatemala's Pacific coast, in addition to the Peten Wild Animal Rescue Center.

The Oakland Zoo's support of ARCAS has increased each year. This support has included donations of veterinary supplies for the wildlife rehabilitation hospital and school supplies for onsite educational programs and classroom presentations that are similar to our own Zoo Mobile programs. We also provided funding for a successful educator's workshop. Eleven Oakland Zoo teens got the opportunity to visit and volunteer at the ARCAS rehabilitation and interpretive center. These students raised money matched by our Conservation Fund to build fencing for a pre-release site for spider monkeys. The teens took with them gifts from the ARCAS "wish list," visited local schools, and took part in daily care and feeding of parrots, macaws, howler and spider monkeys, ocelots, coatimundis, and other native rescued animals. Supporting ARCAS provides us and our youth with many opportunities to make a difference.

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